MGM launches program to donate surplus gourmet food to local foo - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

MGM launches program to donate surplus gourmet food to local food bank

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One in seven people in Southern Nevada don't know where their next meal will come from.

Meanwhile, thousands of pounds of gourmet food at resorts on the Las Vegas Strip are tossed out each year. MGM resorts is launching a new program to make sure that delicious food doesn’t go to waste, called the Surplus Banquet Food Donation Program.

MGM launched a pilot of the program at Aria more than a year ago. They said it’s been so successful, they are now working to expand it to all of their conference centers.

Prior to the pilot program, untouched banquet food was sent to a pig farm.

“At every big meeting or convention, there's always food that's left over, food that's never served,” MGM Chief of Diversity and Corporate Responsibility Officer Phyllis James said.

That’s where Three Square comes in.

“As for us here in the Valley, there's roughly 279,000 people that don't know where their next meal is going to come from,” Three Square Director of Operations Maurice Johnson said.

The food bank helps deliver this food to those most in need.

“Unfortunately, people have to make decisions on whether or not they're going to pay their rent, their mortgage, car, medical bills as opposed to eating,” he said.

James said the donations are food that has never made it out of the kitchen. It’s chef-prepared, but because of a surplus, it is never served. Once the food arrives at Three Square, it’s flash frozen to stay fresh up to 90 days.

“Timing is of the essence,” Johnson said. “We have to make sure the food is actually at the correct temperature in order for it to be donated.”

Since launching its pilot program, MGM has rescued 115,000 pounds of food. That’s equal to 86,000 meals.

“That’s really the innovation in this program, we're talking about large scales of food,” James said.

MGM is continuing to pay it forward with a grant of more than $760,000. Three Square will use the funds to increase staffing and equipment for the program.

“We have high hopes that we will start a chain reaction here,” James said.

The next resort to get the program is the Bellagio. Over the next two years, MGM plans to donate 800,000 banquet style meals.

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